About Polyurethane (PU) Leather | Faux Leather
Faux Leather (fake leather) is an artificial leather material used as an upholstery fabric alternative to genuine leather. Faux leather is produced using a polymer plastic coating applied to a fabric backing. In the process of production a grain is embossed on the surface to provide a leather-like appearance resulting in a very durable, easy clean and inexpensive alternative to using leather hides for furniture and automotive upholstery. There are numerous variations and specifications of synthetic leather to choose from depending on your project. Many consumers will choose a polyurethane faux leather commonly referred to as a pu leather as it is extremely supple and is hard for many to differentiate from genuine leather.
There are Advantages to Utilizing a Faux Leather Alternative.
- Lower Cost for Materials - because the cost of faux leather vinyl fabric is as much as 75% less than that of genuine leather, imitation leather is a much more affordable option. Purchase faux leather by the yard rather than by the entire hide as is usually required for genuine leather.
- Water Resistant, Stain Resistant and Mildew Resistant - PU Leather doesn’t absorb water making it much easier to clean and maintain than genuine leather. Additionally, many synthetic leather selections are treated to be mildew and stain resistant.
- Flexibility in Color and Style - because it is a manufactured product, artificial leather is available in a wide range of color and design options.
- Dry Rot Resistant - Most faux leather material is waterproof, whereas full grain leather is permeable and susceptible to rot or cracking if not dried soon after being exposed to water. Unlike traditional leather, PU leather doesn’t dry out over time so it can last much longer under stressful conditions.
- Sustainable and Animal Friendly - Faux leather is primarily composed of man made materials rather than the hide of animals.
Common Uses for Faux Leather | PU Leather Upholstery Fabric
Synthetic leather upholstery fabric became available when the Naugahyde brand was invented in 1920. When a leather fabric appearance is desired or perhaps when the need is for an extremely durable furniture covering, faux leather fabric is often the ideal choice. At DecorativeFabricsDirect.com you can purchase Naugahyde as well as other quality brands of faux leather upholstery by the yard and at distributor wholesale prices. Below are the most common applications for imitation leather upholstery fabric.
- Residential Interior Furniture Upholstery
- Commercial Interior Furniture Upholstery (Hotels, Restaurants, Convention Centers, Health Care Facilities)
- Outdoor Weather-Resistant Upholstery (Outdoor Patio Furniture Upholstery, Pool Area Furniture Upholstery. Porch Furniture Upholstery)
- Marine Upholstery (Cabin and Exterior Cushions)
- Automotive Upholstery
- Commercial Transportation Seating Material (Truck, Bus, Train )
What is faux leather?
Faux leather is a synthetic fabric made to resemble the look and feel of real leather but is much more affordable. There are two primary types of faux leather construction: polyurethane (“PU”) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC – “Vinyl”). Imitation leather is commonly used for upholstery and is referred to under the following names:
- vinyl leather
- imitation leather
- fake leather
- artificial leather
- synthetic leather
- leather alternative
- pu leather
- upholstery vinyl
PU leather is a type of faux leather but different from a vinyl leather fabric in that pu leather is produced by coating a backing fabric with a flexible polymer which produces a very soft fabric that is hard for many to differentiate from genuine leather. Polyurethanes and semi polyurethanes offer a wonderful alternative to genuine leathers, yet at a much lower price point. Polyurethane leather often referred to a PU Leather and semi polyurethanes differ from typical faux leather upholstery vinyl by having a more supple, softer hand like that of a true leather.
How do you clean faux leather?
Because of its manufactured plastic-based composition, faux leather is extremely easy to clean and highly water and stain resistant. For cleaning dirt, debris and stains the process is as easy as taking a cloth with warm water and dabbing or gently wiping at the area until the blemished area has been cleaned. Then let it air dry.
Most quality brands have a finish applied as a top coat of the imitation leather fabric that provides a high level of stain resistance, abrasion resistance and clean-ability.
What are some of the advantages of using a Faux Leather vs. Genuine Leather?
- Faux leather is up to 75% less expensive than genuine leather.
- Faux leather materials can usually be wiped clean with a rag and warm water. Unlike genuine leather, it does not retain moisture, so faux leather items will not become warped or cracked. Some of the new performance faux leathers can remove ink, liquid and food stains with only a dry cloth.
- Faux leather can be purchased by the yard as opposed to buying a full animal hide.
- Faux leather is very durable and long lasting. It can withstand scratches that would typically mar genuine leather. Imitation leather is not prone to crack or peel like leather. It will not fade as easily as real leather in ultra violet (UV) light and is resistant to stains.